Bad Omen: Porsche Not So Happy With Abysmal EPA Assessment for Taycan
Just the other day, Porsche discussed how excited it was with the number of people placing reservations for its hot new Taycan EV. Unfortunately, that release appears to have been timed to draw attention away from the Environmental Protection Agency’s assessment of the Taycan’s “fuel economy” — a figure that was waiting around the corner to bash Porsche’s shins with a lead pipe.
When the German automaker announced the model, it claimed the electric sedan would offer ranges of up to 280 miles on a single charge using the European Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP). The real number came in at 256 miles for WLTP. Since EPA estimates are typically much more conservative than WLTP averages, many expected maximum range to come down substantially once the United States finished testing … and come down it did.
The EPA calculated the 2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo as having a maximum range of 201 miles.
Meanwhile, the model everyone compares it with — Tesla’s Model S — can be purchased with a maximum range between 348 and 373 miles. We suspected Porsche would have trouble matching Tesla’s range, as the American manufacturer has been hammering away at battery tech for far longer, but the disparity is larger than we bargained for.
That may also be true for Porsche. The automaker has commissioned an “ independent study” from AMCI Testing to assess the model’s range. Unsurprisingly, it reported a maximum range of 275 miles for the Taycan Turbo in normal mode under the highway conditions. Swapping that to ranged mode and keeping it inside the city upped the figure to an alleged 288 miles.
Despite AMCI seeing improved numbers vs the EPA assessment, Porsche still has to use the latter when trying to sell the vehicle to U.S. customers. That’s bad news, as 201 miles means the $151,000 Taycan Turbo has a smaller operating radius than the Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf Plus, Jaguar E-Pace, Audi e-tron, and anything sold by Tesla Motors.
It almost seems like a mistake, considering the Taycan uses a rather sizable 93.4 kWh battery pack, yet Porsche has already said that it accepts the EPA’s assessment. It just wants everyone to know that other tests have shown the model performing better.
We don’t expect this to impact sales in the short term. The Taycan is fresh and hip, meaning there’ll be a glut of people who’ll want to scoop it up as an super-cool conversation piece. Over a longer timeline, that 201 miles range is bound to turn some people off, however. Range anxiety is still a factor in EV sales and, while it may not hurt a model many wealthy people will only use as a second or third vehicle, those who wanted the Taycan as a daily runabout may bolt over to Tesla.
With Volkswagen Group bent on electrification, Porsche will undoubtedly continue massaging the Taycan to improve its overall range. In the meantime, the model may have to rest on its performance chops — which most claim are definitely up to Porsche standards. It also uses an 800-volt system that allows for faster charging than most present-day EVs, further softening the range blow. Thus far, we only have calculations for the Turbo variant. We’ll see how the Taycan Turbo S stacks up once the EPA finishes its testing.
Tedward on Dec 13, 2019
mis-posted this to the mini article Look, AMCI undoubtedly did achieve the mileage that Porsche is touting here, but lets be realistic about what they do. Their role is specifically to provide testing data that’s of use to the manufacturer for advertising and training purposes. Think cheesy sales training videos or alternate talking points for efficiency claims (like this one). I don’t think they could be paid to lie outright, but they are certainly being paid to find a way to present their findings in a useful manner. If a study like that claims an interesting fact it should probably be presented with a very specific notation about this. It may be that there is a very interesting story there and the brand is correct, but I would never take that at face value without a lot of secondary sourcing
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